SOUTHAMPTON 0 NEWCASTLE 0
Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Diamé (Ki Sung-yueng 76), Kenedy, Pérez (Rondón 69), Muto (Atsu 80)
Subs: Schär, Manquillo, Joselu, Darlow
Newcastle United emerged from an abject affair on the South Coast with a point to show for their efforts.
It’s now 10 games without a win for the Magpies but at least Rafa Benitez’s side managed to clamber from the bottom of the Premier League table.
They’ll still need to back this away draw up with positive results at home to Watford and AFC Bournemouth, however, there was the slightest of suggestions that they could be making small steps in the right direction here.
With owner Mike Ashley watching on for the fifth game in a row there were fresh chants for the Sports Direct magnate to sell the club, but surely even he can see now that the product on the pitch is below standard.
The worrying thing was that Florian Lejeune aside, the team that finished the game was Newcastle pretty much at full strength.
United rode their luck for long periods against an equally poor Southampton side and without that marquee striker on board they failed to even manage a shot on target over 90 minutes plus stoppage time.
Newcastle were under the cosh in the opening stages as Mohamed Elyounoussi found time and space in the box with Martin Dubravka making a sprawling block to deny him.
It would be the first of many fine stops from the Slovakian international glove man.
The Toon goalie then produced another save to keep out Charlie Austin as the Saints attacked down the left-hand side on eight minutes.
United absorbed the early pressure in the first 20 minutes but were unable to produce a single effort at goal.
Nathan Redmond fired over mid-way through the first half after a pass from Charlie Austin as the Saints stayed on the front foot.
Two minutes later, the Magpies forced a corner with Matt Ritchie’s cross eventually dropping for Yoshinori Muto at the back post but he turned his effort wide.
On the half-hour mark, United made another venture forward as Ayoze Perez picked up the ball in the final third. However, after slipping the ball to Kenedy, the Brazilian’s right-footed shot was blocked by a Saints defender.
Ten minutes later Southampton came forward again as Bertrand crossed from the left to pick out Mario Lemina but his toe poke cannoned off the outside of the post in another let-off moment for the Magpies.
The Saints finished the half on top with Jack Stephens sending a towering head towards goal but Dubravka ended the first period how he started it with a save.
United were lucky to go in with the scores level after a half in which their goal had lived a charmed life.
The second half failed to start with a bang as both sides struggled to find openings.
Jonjo Shelvey had a sniff on 54 minutes, but after cutting inside he then fired high over the bar in another moment that lacked quality from the visitors.
Southampton responded when Redmond struck a shot low across the face of goal, however, Dubravka gathered well low down.
With 59 minutes played Federico Fernandez put in a vital block to deny Danny Ings.
The Magpies reached the hour mark without managing a shot on target in a contest that lacked quality.
With 64 minutes on the clock, United were grateful to Paul Dummett after he made a crucial block to deny Redmond before Mo Diame got in the way of Cedric’s follow up.
There were 22 minutes left when Rondon came on for Benitez’s first change.
The on loan West Brom striker replaced Perez with the Spaniard putting in another poor show despite further loyalty from his manager.
Benitez made a second change on 76 minutes as Ki Sung-yueng replaced Diame in the centre of the park.
He was soon joined by Christian Atsu who replaced the frustrated looking figure of Muto with the Japanese international often starved of the ball.
United were handed a promising free-kick on the edge of the final third but Ritchie’s cross to the back post was cleared after Fernandez had headed across the six-yard box.
DeAndre Yedlin followed up but blasted the ball over the top.
Southampton sub Shane Long - who has a habit of scoring against Newcastle - was then presented with a last minute chance but thankfully steered it wide.
A nervous finale followed but Newcastle ended the game with a point at St Mary’s and halted a run of three losses.
It was an awful afternoon of football that could barely be classed as entertainment but if it helps Newcastle stay up, Benitez won’t care.